Since it’s Thanksgiving week, we thought we would ask a question that’s homespun if not heartwarming: What did your parents, or guardian(s) think when you got your first writing job? Did their attitude get any *better, or worse, over time?
*Being dead doesn’t count for it getting any better.
4 thoughts on “Would You Pass The Guilt, Please?”
My mom has wanted to be a writer her whole life, so she’s been disbelieving and a little jealous at first, but now thinks its pretty cool.
I sent my first “professional” piece to my parents — it was a N.C. rock overview for New York Rocker (Holsapple was in the Rocker office when my manuscript arrived, all 30 pages of it as they’d never given me a length, and he said they all kinda just looked at it stupidly, like a doorstop had been delivered) — and while my Mom sorta acted like she didn’t “understand” what I was writing about, I could tell she was proud. Years later, cleaning out her house, I came upon a drawer that was full of stuff of mine dating back to gradeschool, along with some letters and music writings I’d sent her. So I knew for sure then.
Of course, the fact that I dropped out of law school to pursue my punk rock dream of doing photocopied fanzines and working for free records didn’t sit to well with my mom or my dad….
my parents were ALL FOR MY WRITING!!! my mom’s brother was a show-biz lawyer, so perhaps that paved the way. my dad was just plain cool. i’ve been paid for writing by trouser press (1980), but not for any other remotely rock n roll journalistic outlet. on the other hand, i’ve been paid for writing copy for television ranging from USA networks to PBS to VH1 (not rock n roll, i tell you – no matter what VH1 wants to think!!) to Food Network and Madison Square Garden Channel… yeesh. i’ve probably been paid MORE as a ghost writer/editor for things i am not allowed to mention. double yeesh. i’ve been paid more for the camera part of “photojournalist” and that’s a good thing… as that’s my preference… and to comment to Fred Mills about dropping out of law school… i finished law school and have been able to earn money with that experience by……coaching law school applicants and helping them with their admissions application essays. yeah – i’ve worked in law firms, but only to gain the knowledge to cause trouble elsewhere. in short, Fred: doing the photocopied fanzine will win you a place in heaven. the lawyer thing is the express train to hell. hell on earth anyway…
How wonderful for all of you, really. I remember having to save my own stuff, which by the by, I still have. I recall the first time I was in print – a review of Martha & the Muffins. I was a teen writing for the underground music mag in town. I think I brought it to the kitchen table for my dad to see – it may have been after he was done with some work he brought home, finishing a client’s taxes. I had to force him to look (ADD) & he was sort of nonplused.
I don’t think he wanted me getting into the whole alt scene, but hey, 25 years later.. still nonplused. He would have been thrilled with the other Greek girl above, though. As time wears on you usually have one or two conversations about it & realize what matters is your own perception. This is helped along if you don’t see or have much of an extended family.
Speaking of taxes, when I had my father prepare mine while I was much later made editor @ the alt newsweekly, I mentioned deductions & such. He started laughing. When I took umbrage, stumbling over words explaining my validity, he only laughed more, hitting the arm rests of his chair. “Damn it daddy, sir,” I thought, but did not say.
He’ll change his tune when he needs someone to fetch the New York Times for him if ever semi-incapacitated.